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Europe's airline capacity outlook: wait and see

Premium Analysis

Europe's filed summer 2020 schedules continue to be trimmed, but are still high compared with airline plans and CAPA's capacity projection models.

Schedules for early winter 2020/2021 are still showing 90% of 2019 levels, but this is no guide. Worldwide bookings for Nov-2020 are well below half of 2019 levels.

Passenger booking horizons are now very short, adding to the difficulty in planning future schedules. The continued suspension of the '80-20' slot rule into the winter would give some additional planning flexibility.

Meanwhile, the tentative return of capacity in Europe continues to drift upwards.

Total seat capacity is scheduled to be down by 79.7% year-on-year in the week commencing 22-Jun-2020, according to schedules from OAG combined with CAPA Fleet Database seat configurations.

Latin America has the deepest cuts, reduced by 82.5%, fractionally more than Africa's 82.4% cut. Seats have dropped by 69.7% in North America, 72.0% in Middle East and 52.7% in Asia Pacific.

Europe's cut is 2.0ppts narrower than last week's 81.6% drop, and the third consecutive week of a modestly tightening trend. However, the 'wait and see' approach is likely to remain – both for airlines and for passengers.

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